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Minneapolis-based power company Xcel Energy has announced plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, expand conservation and renewable energy, and improve the efficiency of its electricity generation fleet in Minnesota.

"Our plan would reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 22 percent from 2005 levels by 2020, a 6 million ton reduction, while pursuing the lowest-cost expansion path, meeting increased customer needs and maintaining system reliability," says Dave Sparby, acting president and CEO of Northern States Power Co.-Minnesota, an Xcel company.

The plan, which covers 2008 through 2022, includes a new forecast that projects a 1% annual increase in electricity demand, while the company works to achieve annual energy savings of up to 1.5% of retail electricity sales as required by state law.

Among the plan's key provisions is to meet Minnesota's renewable portfolio standard, which requires Xcel to supply 30% of its customers' electricity needs with renewable resources by 2020. This will require Xcel to add 2,600 MW of new wind resources to its system by 2020, more than the 1,300 MW of wind resource planned to be online by the end of 2008.

To begin acquiring these resources, Xcel will soon issue a request for proposals for ownership of 500 MW of new wind power and will continue to move forward on its commitment to develop 500 MW of community-based wind resources.

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